Flagship: XEPRS 1090 AM
PxP: Ted Leitner
Color: Bob Scanlan
Reviewer: Bill Schneider
Category: Play by Play
Ted Leitner is in his 34th season doing Padres play by play, while Bob Scanlan is in his 2nd season as the color analyst.
Ted Leitner’s play by play calling is very good. He provides a clean, crisp recap of on field game action. His voice is pleasant to listen to, and he adjusts the tone and pitch to appropriately convey a sense of excitement when the play merits it. His play by play descriptions use a sufficiently variable vocabulary to avoid being repetitive. He speaks in somewhat quick bursts, but his tempo and pacing are not distracting and sound natural.
Category: Color Commentary
Bob Scanlan’s color commentary is insightful. He does a particularly good job describing the pitching sequences and their impact on at bat results. His commentary is timely and generally provides background and depth to complement on field play. As an example, Scanlan described the jump a base stealer got on a Kyle Lohse pitch and mentioned that a Milwaukee infielder, noticing the jump, had yelled at Lohse to step off the mound (but too late for Lohse to react).
Overall, the color commentary enhances the listener experience in an above average fashion.
Category: Broadcast Team Commentary
Leitner and Scanlan inject quite a bit of depth into their commentary. It is obvious they have done their homework prior to the telecast, as they integrate commentary regarding player tendencies, recent performances, and in-game results. Both announcers come across as professionals, providing insights that enhance enjoyment of the game.
Leitner and Scanlan definitely favor the Padres in their play descriptions, with Leitner routinely referring to the Padres’ players as “my boys.” They also demonstrate a tendency to describe Padres’ efforts in overly favorable terms. A couple examples of overly positive comments: “Jed Gyorko has the type of swing that is slump-proof” (reviewers note: Gyorko was 4 for 38 during the current month), and “Evereth Cabrera is, dare I say it, similar to Rickey Henderson as a lead off hitter” (reviewers note: Cabrera has an OPS of .748 in 2013, not exactly Henderson territory). This bias toward the Padres does not, however, prevent either announcer from accurately describing physical or mental errors committed by Padres players, and thus is more of a quirk than an outright problem.
Incorporation of trivia during the broadcast is seamless and interesting. The announcers cover lots of ground, incorporating history (Dizzy Dean’s career as pitcher and broadcaster) and biographical information (Bud Black’s stints as a pitching coach prior to managing the Padres).
Category: Charisma and Chemistry
Belying the fact that this is only their second season sharing the Padres radio broadcast booth, Leitner and Scanlan display a strong chemistry. Their banter comes across as sincere, and both announcers display a good sense of humor. These guys are having a good time in the booth, and the listener is brought along for the ride. Both announcers introduce information in such a way as to invite comments from the other. Time filling information is generally both relevant and entertaining.
Scanlan in particular demonstrates an understanding of the relevance of advanced statistics, and integrates this type of analysis into his color commentary. Statistical information is complemented by background information gleaned from insider knowledge and access; for example, that Juan Guzman was starting in right field during one game was explained using a combination of batting splits and manager comments. Detailed insight is provided that is not obvious to the listener but nonetheless highly relevant. Scanlan noted that Kyle Lohse had thrown off-speed first pitches to three consecutive batters just prior to Nick Hundley hitting a first pitch homer off yet another first pitch off-speed offering.
Overall, the game analysis serves as an enhancement to the broadcast experience. The quality is such that there would even be value in listening to the broadcast in the stands.
Category: Production Values
Returns from commercial breaks are timely, with no missed game action or requisite catch up commentary. Audio levels are consistent and mixed appropriately with on field sounds. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about the production, but the avoidance of common problem areas like late returns from commercial breaks results in seamless integration with game action.
Category: Commercialism and Cutaways
Sponsor drop ins, while occurring somewhat frequently, did not detract from on field action. No guest interviews or sideline reporters were utilized during the broadcasts monitored.
Leitner and Scanlan put on a highly entertaining radio broadcast. Play calling is smooth and professional, and is augmented well with additional information. Their mutual enthusiasm and enjoyment clearly come across to the listener. The overall impression their broadcast leaves is that of sitting around watching a ball game with some particularly well-informed friends.
About the author:
Bill capped a lifelong fascination with baseball statistics by joining SABR in 2012. These broadcast reviews are his first foray into SABR-related writings.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this evaluation are solely those of the author. As such, the views expressed by the author should not be interpreted as representing the opinions of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), its board, or anyone otherwise affiliated with SABR. Likewise, the conclusions included in these evaluations are not to be viewed or interpreted as official endorsements (or lack thereof) by SABR, or of anyone affiliated with SABR, of any particular broadcasters or broadcast organizations.